Cost of Church Seating: How Much Should You Really Budget?

Whether you’re planting a new church or are simply looking to redesign your current church location, church seating must be a part of your plans.

Where your congregation will sit is one of the more important aspects of church planning you have to think about, and not just because your visitors and members need a place to sit. Church seating determines how many people you can fit in your sanctuary, how many people can attend service comfortably, and how much space you have for other events and proceedings.

You have to account for the weekly crowd, as well as visitors, special events and holidays where you may be seeing more individuals than usual. In short, church seating is a vastly important part of planning any church-related event, which is why calculating the cost of church seating is so important. Creating a budget that covers all your needs may be tricky, but it will certainly pay off in the end.

Calculating the Cost of Church Seating: How Much You Should Budget, and Why You Need to Be Prepared

On average, a common church sanctuary can comfortably hold a few hundred individuals. The actual number depends on whether the church uses pews or individual chairs and the actual size of the sanctuary itself. For small sanctuary spaces, 50-100 people can be comfortably seated, give or take some here and there, while larger sanctuaries may even be able to seat upwards of 500 individuals.

You don’t want to buy too many chairs for a too small space, and you don’t want to find that you don’t have enough chairs to fill a larger space. What’s more, you don’t want to pay too much or too little for quality chairs that fit your needs. With this in mind, having a budget and calculating the size of your sanctuary as well as the needs of your congregation as far as space and comfort go, are imperative.

Choosing the Right Seating For You: Comfort and Cost


When it comes to church seating, you have to make the right choice for your church and congregation. This may feel a little overwhelming at first as the choice entails more than just cost and comfort; it also includes a cultural aspect. For example, a more traditional church may be more inclined to order pews for their seating needs, as these have a classic element and allow for kneeling during prayer when needed.

Other churches that do not practice prayer while kneeling may feel that pews are unnecessary, uncomfortable, and even a poor use of their sanctuary space. Such churches may instead opt for individual seating that can be moved and rearranged when needed – seats that are more versatile, in short.

Further, for pew seating, using the standard 22”-24” per seat, you can expect the price to fall around $100 to $150 per pew seat, making this a more expensive option overall. These are decisions each church must handle on their own depending upon their needs, and they must be taken into account when choosing seating.

costs of church seatingChurch Chairs

An individual church chair is a more comfortable option that comes with more versatility, mainly because these seats can be changed and rearranged when needed. Perhaps a smaller group is using the sanctuary which means less chairs will be set up for that event – with church chairs, this will be a breeze.

A quality individual church chair will cost anywhere from $53-$60 per chair, with an average shipping cost of another $6 per chair. If your sanctuary can hold about 250 chairs give or take, you should budget anywhere between $8,000-$15,000 for this option, more or less.

Overall, individual church chairs actually allow for more seating options for a smaller price, but they may compromise comfort, especially when compared to a quality theatre style chair.

Theatre Style Seating  

Theatre style seating is possibly the most comfortable and most attractive church seating option because it allows for personal space while also offering comfort and an aesthetically pleasing set up. This church seating option offers the most seating in a sanctuary space, which is why it is often used in larger sanctuaries and auditoriums. Of course, the cost for theatre style seating is much more expensive on average, making extra caution (i.e. no food or drinks, etc.) a necessity to ensure longevity.

Overall, theatre seating costs between $130 to $250 per seat when they are distributed by a reputable company known for its quality seating. If you come across a higher or lower price, chances are the seating is not what it appears to be.

cost of church seatingAll in all, the church seating you choose for your sanctuary depends largely on your congregation, the size of your sanctuary space, and the needs of your members. When it comes to budgeting, keep these factors in mind and stick to a between $10,000-$30,000 (more or less!) for seats. Of course, you can do further research and find alternative options for less money or better details, but it is important to remember that quality chairs will cost a little more, but it’s usually worth it.